Picture of flowers

Dundonald Railway Station, Then and Now…

Picture of flowers


Click name board above for home or choose from the menu below


Dundonald Village

The BCDR Company

Station Timeline

Tickets Please!

Station Layout

Pictures from past

Pictures from today

Conclusion & Acknowledgements




Quarry Lane Crossing





Picture of BCDR train





Most of the following dates and names have been found by searching through old Belfast & Ulster Street Directories held by the Linenhall Library, Belfast Central Library and the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. The years given therefore are approximate and depend on how information was collected to make those directories.




Mr Thomas Lynas


Lynas was removed from his post along with porter Hugh Kennedy due to a severe crime committed at the station for which they received 4 years penal servitude.



1866 - 1888

Mr Hance Magee – Mr Magee was in post at least from 1866 when his son is recorded as being born whilst station master at Dundonald.


Hance Magee died in service 3rd September 1888.


1888 - 1889




Mr J. Nixon






Mr Joseph Coleman


In February the company minute books note irregularities by the Dundonald stationmaster. In March Joseph Coleman appeared before the Holywood Petty Sessions accused of embezzlement of excess fares at Dundonald. It is stated he had been promoted to Stationmaster from Porter.





1894 - 1898

Mr William John Gilmour



Mr James Graham


1900 - 1901

Mr Robert Brown




The 1901 Irish Census shows that when living at Dundonald Station Robert Brown was 33 years old, married with 3 children. He was also author of a small book named “Poems by a Railway Lad” printed by W& G Baird Belfast in 1911. Prior to coming to Dundonald he had been station master at Neill’s Hill. Included in his book is a poem entitled, “A reply to the compliant of the dullness at Neill’s Hill Station.”




With sunless skies, earth matron looks,

    And languid lies October;

Beneath a load of yellow fruits,

    With face both wane and sober.


Yet though the sun with clouded face

    Does thus refrain from greeting,

There are true hearts within this place

    With warm affection beating.


Their love-lit eyes to light indeed

    That never once grows hazy,

And inward with electric speed

    Would set dull hearts half crazy.


Thro’ autumn’s haze and winter’s snow

    An endless taper’s burning

Of love, to keep all hearts aglow,

    As seasons still keep turning.




1902 - 1928       

Mr Charles McLaughlin


Mr McLaughlin was previously the stationmaster at Neill’s Hill before his move to Dundonald.


Charles McLaughlin was a well loved character on the railway and was much missed when he died at Station House on 12/9/1928 after a period of serious illness. He was aged 59½ years and had completed 38 years service with the company.


Such was his popularity that short articles appeared in the local newspapers marking his passing. The Belfast Telegraph  included the following tribute:


“His familiar, genial figure will be missed for many a day by the users of the line. He was a smart, and courteous official, possessed of a genial disposition which made him very popular with the public”.


The Belfast News Letter had the following to say:


“Mr McLaughlin was well-known to hundreds of travellers on the Belfast and County Down Railway. An ideal official, courteous and obliging, and ever zealous in the performance of his duties, he was respected by all who came into contact with him.”


In October 1928 the Senior Porter William Thompson requested consideration for the position of Stationmaster. He appears to have been unsuccessful as by 1930 James Taylor was in the position having moved from Tullymurry were he was Stationmaster.





1930 - ?

Mr James Taylor


In  Ireland's Saturday Night - Saturday 25 August 1956 there was an article entitled “End of the line” where “W meets desolation at the old Dundonald Station”.


“BARBED wire over gaping windows jagged edged with smashed glass: laths drooping from the broken ceilings, plaster hoked off the walls: the Ladies' Waiting Room, still labelled, falling to pieces, half the fireplace missing: holes in roof and broken slates on the floor…


 "A proper playground." said retired Dundonald station-master James Taylor. " Davy Crockett hunting round and ambushing over the roofs! Oh, it's a wonderful place now."


All the lines and sleepers are away. The track is a weed-grown alley—that's the picture of desolation. "Desperate" said he. " Talk about beauty spots and preserving the countryside. But that old track’s a real promenade. Prams and all, sometimes."


James; was stationmaster here for 17 years, and still lives in the stationmaster's house 20 or 30 yards away. We looked at a flower-bed on the platform, or what once was a flower-bed. It is now a mass of weeds and nettles. "I used to have chrysanthemums there," said he. "This time o' year they'd be just shaping up. You see that big bush there? We were famous for our roses. Now they're reverting to buckles again." Here and there were young shoots of tree “Sycamore.” he said. There’s a big Sycamore over the road, and the seeds blow all round, so there’s a desperate lot of sycamore.”



In his early days here he knew everybody. “Now.” he said “you hardly know the people at all. They’re all strangers.”


But it was always quiet, and still is. You can almost hear the silence. “During the day,” he said “might as well be in a cemetery – only you never know who you might see in a cemetery!” Across the road a row of villas lined the hill. “I used to watch hares playing themselves on that hill”, he commented.


A fellow and two girls came through the station and went down the cracking stone steps to the sub-way: Ballybeen’s short cut to the bus on the main road. It saves about 100 yards.


James looked round and his eyes glinted. “I still have a feeling for the old station.” he said. “Once a railwayman always a railwayman. My father was a railwayman, and all my brothers.” How is it that most railwaymen are quiet, slow-moving? “I couldn’t tell you.” he said. “But on the railway you need a long temper – not a short temper.”


They’ve had excitement here at times. “The time of the Grand Prix,” he said “it was holy terror. People slept out all round here the night before the race. The time of the blitz it was terrible. Hundreds would come out on the train, bedding and all with them. Talk about refugees!”


We went through the desolate station-house again. Two posters survive. One advertised cheap one-day tickets to Belfast – from Dundonald it was 8d return. The other was a gay holiday poster of Snowdon, North Wales beauty spot.


Stand on the forsaken platform again. You look across at the lovely Holywood Hills… and forget the desolation of the ruined station.


James is a County Derry man. “From the little town of Garvagh.” Said he. “Sitting on the wall at the bottom of the town to fish? Oh yes, Garvagh’s a great place for fishing.”


Any hobbies? “When you’re on the railway you’re married to the job.” he said. “You’ve no time for anything else. But now I’m retired I read Westerns. I’m a great man for the cowboy stories!”


I looked again at the crumbling station, the long stretch of desolate track.


‘Tis true, ‘Tis pity as Shakespeare said.”


? - 1950

Dundonald station closed in 1950 when much of the former BCDR system was shut down. At this time the UTA classified Dundonald as a ‘halt’. This meant although it was still a manned station it did not have a stationmaster of its own. (Instead a foreman or senior porter would have been in charge). Dundonald’s ‘parent’ station was Comber, which also closed at the same time. The last stationmaster at Comber was Mr Samuel Johnston.